The Tipping Point, Malcolm Gladwell’s book on “How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference” has a lot to say on what brings about significant changes in a society’s education, health, business and general lifestyle.
Of great interest is how the second chapter “The Law of the Few,” points out that there are certain types of people that have a special talent for bringing about a peak in societal activities. And though this book covers a lot to learn from human interactions at various levels, businesses can glean this important tip offered in this chapter.
The success of any kind of social epidemic is heavily dependent on the involvement of people with a particular and rare set of social gifts.
Word-of-mouth communication has been proven to be the most reliable and important form of human communication, and in business, advertisement. It is only natural that a person would trust another’s personal confirmation of a product or service over a media advert. Gladwell has grouped these rare set of social gifts capable of sparking word-of-mouth epidemics into the three classes of people he calls Connectors, Mavens and Salesmen.
The phrase, “Do you know someone there?” is an important cliché in our business and social lives. The central attribute of Connectors is that they know a lot of people, thus, knowing a Connector or someone who knows someone that knows a lot of people is key in paving paths to success for obvious reasons. Connectors maximize the power of acquaintances, not necessarily friends, seeing possibilities in people, instead of choosing to like or reject them. As the author explains, the things that characterize them are the large social connections they have, the long list of weak ties- friendly but casual connections that they keep, and that they have been themselves in multiple worlds- built up over the years from schools, workplaces, churches and whatever social gatherings they have come in contact with. Hence Connectors can give more power and opportunity to a person, a product or an idea that comes their way.
If a Connector is someone we rely on to connect us with people, a Maven, on the other hand, is someone who connects us to a lot of information. Mavens have information on lots of products, prices and/or places. And aren’t these critical to business? It is only expected that businesses know what place to position their products and at what prices to pitch them.
When people are not convinced about what they are hearing, it takes a Salesman to persuade them. Salesmen are skilled in the art of conversation. They are capable of infecting their audience with their charisma, creating and keeping conversations on their own terms and winning them to their side in such a manner that the listener cannot resist.
One thing that makes these abilities come naturally to these three is that they like the people they come in contact with. To, just for the sake of it, know a lot of people, keep a lot of information or try to get people agree with you is something overwhelming for the ordinary person. But Connectors know and like a lot of people, Mavens share information because they like people and Salesmen engage in the art of persuasion not just because they want to sell, but because they like their clients.
There is more power that can be harnessed from human relationships that mere material resources may not afford. Do you know any persons like these? You can benefit much more from your relationship with them.